• Sunspot AR3089 is facing toward the Earth and has built up energy
  • This sunspot development is part of the Sun's 11-year cycles
  • X-class is the most powerful class of solar flares

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has sounded the alarm, following a sunspot's transformation into a delta magnetic field, which might trigger the most powerful X-class solar flares.

Sunspot AR3089 is facing toward the Earth, and has built up energy. It has developed a delta magnetic field, and might shoot the strongest class of Sun flares toward the Earth.

According to NOAA, the chances of the sunspot releasing an X-class flare is around 5%, reported

Nevertheless, if this does come true, it can cause a powerful geomagnetic storm in the Earth's atmosphere, which might damage satellite and electromagnetic communication systems.

GPS radio signals travel through the Earth's ionosphere present between the planet receiver and the satellite in orbit. Thus, when a geomagnetic storm hits Earth, the ionosphere is disturbed, which distorts the signal and as an effect, the receivers cannot accurately get a position.

According to, delta-class fields usually cause higher levels of solar activity, on account of big sunspots with a reversed magnetic polarity.

Sunspots are seen as darker areas on the sun's surface, especially where coronal magnetic fields are strong. These strong magnetic fields rearrange themselves, which can eject solar flares that are bursts of electromagnetic radiation.

Solar flares are classified based on how powerful the X-rays are. There are three classes in which solar flares are divided -- C-class, M-class and X-class.

C-class flares are quite a common occurrence, and do not have any noticeable impact on Earth, while M-class flares are of medium intensity and may lead to minor geomagnetic storms. X-class flares are the most powerful of the three, but less regular.

For context, X-class flares are 10 times stronger than M-class, and within the same class, an X10 flare is 10 times more intense than an X1 flare.

A record-breaking X-class flare to hit the Earth is believed to be behind the 1859 Carrington event, which flashed bright aurorae around the world, and was reported to have resulted in sparking and even fires in some telegraph stations.

This sunspot development is part of the Sun's 11-year cycles, wherein sunspot activity levels and the number of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CME) increase as it nears the solar maximum.

The last solar minimum was in December 2019, and the next solar maximum is forecasted for 2025. The current solar cycle, which is the 25th cycle to be observed since sunspot activity was first recorded in 1755, is slated to outmatch solar cycle 24 in terms of solar activity.

Aurora during a geomagnetic storm. NASA